Aaron Weiche, CEO GatherUp
Aaron Weiche is the CEO of GatherUp, a feedback and reputation platform for local businesses as well as a co-founder of MnSearch, a partner at Local University, and an international speaker on reviews, search marketing, web design and mobile. Aaron spent over 15 years as a partner in running digital marketing agencies working with thousands of small business as well as Fortune 100 clients. Alongside Darren Shaw, Aaron cohosts The SaaS Venture podcast, a monthly series where he shares his experiences from running, leading, and growing SaaS companies.
Noah Learner: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to our Friday automaker Hangout. It is 2pm we're super stoked to welcome you, Jordan choose with us. Hey, Jordan, how's it going?
Jordan Choo: Hi Noah.
Noah Learner: We're exceptionally excited to have Aaron, Waikiki, the CEO of gather up with us today, here and how you doing?
Aaron Weiche: Thanks for having me, fellows. I'm doing fantastic.
Noah Learner: Cool. Today, we're going to be talking all about reviews, reputation management, customer customer experience management. with Aaron, he's going to give us a ton of insight into how how this will impact both rankings. And more importantly, how it will impact your business and how it how you can grow conversions and have happier customers year round. With that, Aaron, can you tell us a little bit about you and in your history and how you came together up?
Aaron Weiche: Yeah. So to summarize, the last couple decades, somewhere in the mid 90s, someone asked me to code a web page, because I was the only guy that had an email address at the company. So picked up a book on HTML and started building web pages, you just need to build a page back then. And then from there, just kind of started building a lot of small business websites, built a few small digital marketing agencies. And obviously, in the, you know, mid, early 2000s, right around 2000, little after that started looking into like, all right, you're building these sites? And how do you get found and, you know, some of the things in the early days was just buying a listing in the Yahoo directory, and that was probably half the battle. And then obviously, Google came along and changed all of that. And so getting into SEO very deep that. And then when local SEO for SEO, you know, came into more of a full force in the in the later, you know, early single digits of the 2000s. Since I've worked with so many small business websites, you know, got a lot into local from there as well. Just kind of stair step approach kept building agencies that were a little bit bigger serving a bigger client base, and things like that. And then roughly about four years ago, now, almost to this week, my good friend Mike Blumenthal, you know, we just kind of started talking, I was ready after I think about 17 years in in the agency world, the agency I was at, we had grown to about 50 people, multiple millions in revenue, and I wasn't doing the work I wanted to do anymore and was looking for a change. And Mike said, How about common and over and working with us on reviews and customer experience and those kind of things and came on board four years ago and have have loved it ever since I can't believe it's actually been four years. It's one of those, if you ever hit a point in time where you're just, I don't know, just so into drinking the kool aid on what you're doing and loving what you're doing and the customers you get to work with and everything else. Like it literally feels like I've been here a year even though it's been four years. So yeah, I've had my hands in digital for a very long time and definitely love it. It's definitely the spot for me.
Noah Learner: How did you know that you wanted to go from the service side to the SAAS side? I've been listening to your podcast with Darren and and that's been pretty fascinating. I was hoping you can dig into that a little bit. Yeah, yeah.
Aaron Weiche: Thanks. And thanks for listening. Yeah, I don't know if I even really knew it. But some of the things I was looking at, right, the things within, you know, building and scaling an agency that are tough is, you know, humans and people are almost always your biggest assets that you're trying to create billable hours and projects and retainers and things like that. And retainers are your best route because that's predictable, reoccurring revenue, which is so important in in an agency that the more of that you have, the better balance you have. And you can equal out your staff and understand supply and demand and things like that. And yeah, just as we got bigger, and especially, you know, I live in the Minneapolis area, and that's where my agencies have always been spending more time on the talent side, either protecting from other people hiring away, or talent recruiting them headhunters, we have a lot of corporate, sometimes we even get clients that are like, Hey, we really love this developer, you keep bringing on site like we want to hire them. So was that that part of it, where I just started to get a little bit worn out. And that's what caused me to look into other things. So I don't even know if it's so much that I knew I wanted to find product. But it wasn't within a couple of months where I was like, all right, this is a you know, this is a whole different beast. And I still from the agency side, I miss. I miss having so many intelligent people, right when you're in an office with so many mixed disciplines. And you can grab a developer designer, search strategist, and content person and go like work on a small project or spitball, some ideas like super powerful, that doesn't so much happen inside of a SAS company. But just being able to focus all your efforts on kind of, you know, one similar vein and, you know, all inside one product and run strategy and one set of tactics, that there's definitely something to be said about that.
Noah Learner: Cool. Um, did you want to tell us a little bit? Do you want to jump into the deck? Or do you want to actually Sorry, I'm so spacey, you give us there's been a ton of algorithm changes, as always, but I had a really interesting read in Murray Hayes's recent blog post about the recent June algorithm changes. Can you tell us what you are seeing it gather up in terms of how reviews are playing into that and brand reputation?
Aaron Weiche: Yeah. So look at it at a 10,000 foot view with this. Yeah, at the core, we continue to see more and more of a reputation and what other people think about you. And I guess for me, I kind of always been waiting for this to to bubble to the surface, just from the fact that Google is always trying to emulate you know, trust and authority right behind what they do. And they've had to use so many, like, on site type things, and just so many things that can be manipulated. And when you have things that can be manipulated, it's hard to derive trust and authority from those. So as we've seen over the course of time, from, you know, spamming meta keywords to link farms, you know, everything else, like all of these things can be gamed. And, you know, Google obviously in in mass tries to do what they can and make corrections of, you know, Penguin, and Panda and all these, you know, different algorithmic changes and corrections and things like that. But I think the area where they realize we can get the most amount of trust is from, you know, what is the consensus? What are people saying when they talk about this business. And that's just the biggest shift, I feel like we've seen in marketing as an overall is now instead of the brand of voice being can trolled by the brand, and their marketing campaigns and radio ads, and TV ads and billboards. Now, it's really controlled by what are all your consumers saying out on social media and writing reviews on sites and sharing with each other on Facebook. So, you know, Google has this entirely different fire hose now than they did a decade ago to tap into to establish credibility and to establish authority. So, you know, from a really high level, to me, all of that makes a lot of sense, because it's much harder to gain 10,000 people's opinions or 1000 people's opinions or even 100 people's opinions than it is to gain links or the content, you're putting on a page all these things that are a lot more static. And just even in the last couple of months, some of the things that we've started seeing, you know, Google's Question and Answer feature, we're seeing that now being answered by content that's in reviews. So Google is processing the reviews are using natural language processing their understanding what people are talking about writing about review. So when someone else has a question about that business, they're going to try to answer it with past review content. And then we've seen you know, some of the interface changes in the last few weeks where if you're even typing in like, you know, what is Tom's pizzas, phone number, or what is you know, Acme laundries hours of operation, it's going to give you that answer. But it's also going to attach the reputation data to it as well. And to me, these are just all part of signals that like you know, who you're dealing with, no matter if you're trying to walk through their door, call them send an email, whatever else, Google feels, that's a really important part of your decision making process. And that you should be aware of what that business's reputation is. And we really feel like that, you know, your reputation data probably is going to end up being the most visible thing about your business that no matter what someone else is trying to find or look for whatever else, Google also wants you to understand, you know, is this reputation probably from a good company that you actually want to talk to.
Noah Learner: I feel like when I need a practitioner for anything, I search for whatever's common sensical to me. And then the first thing I do is read through all the reviews, and reviews are really good. And there's high, you know, high velocity, you know, constant velocity and positive. And then I looked through the ones and the twos, ie the bad ones. And if all that stuff's good, I just decided right away, because our time is so precious. Now, it's not like I don't have time to look through 17 choices.
Aaron Weiche: Now. And an Amazon has conditioned us to do a lot of that, right? Because, you know, the Amazon realized a long time ago, if we're going to get people to buy things without touching them, feeling them seeing them whatever else, then we have to bring social proof to this. And they've done that at at at scale with what they've done in products. And you know, to me, that's really bled over into so many things from hiring the local plumber, someone to mow your lawn, someone to paint your house, who's going to do taxes, all these things, where we're constantly looking, or we might be in the market for the first time for a type of service. And we want to understand, are these guys great to work with? Do they respond? If I have an issue? How do other people feel about all of those different aspects that reviews just wrap up really, really nicely for people? And you don't have to, like interact to do it? Right? Where are our societies become one where we're behind a keyboard and a screen where it's so much happier, and it's so much easier? So the fact that I can get these 1020 202,000 opinions all in one screen and all in one shot and consume them all on my own time? That that's a win for most consumers nowadays. Can you? So you're saying that they're pulling answers from review data? Is it? Is it just Google reviews? Or is it first party reviews off your website? Or where? What's the source? Yeah, for those who are pulling just Google reviews? So it's all the internal Google reviews that that are that are there. So you like one of the examples in the post we wrote on it was like, you know, I just typed in, like, Is there a fish fresh for like a seafood restaurant that was there. And it starts pulling up all the reviews of anybody talking about how fresh they felt like the fish was in their meal, and anything related to that being there. So yeah, they absolutely use those first. But, you know, to your earlier point, Noah, so many people nowadays, they're going to type in a brand and then the word reviews after it, right? So it might be like, you know, Minneapolis Hyatt Hotel reviews, or specific accountant and reviews because they are going to skip past whatever content that they've written them about themselves as the business and they want to go right to what are other consumers saying about this company? So the rise of those type of search terms, and then we see from Google themselves, right, that the searches for anything product service, I mean, they are just so riddled with review stars and reputation data in those search results, that Google understands that that's what the users want. That's what they click on. That's what they're seeking. And they're finding as many ways to populate the search results with that reputation type information.
Noah Learner: There are a ton of players in your market. And I've been incredibly impressed with your product. You know, disclosure, I do resell gather up and I think it's just the best thing since sliced bread, specifically, because we can automate the process of gathering feedback and in growing the quantity reviews can for those folks who aren't super familiar with gather up? Can you give us an introduction to what you guys do? And what sets you apart?
Aaron Weiche: Yeah, well, thanks for the plug. I appreciate that. And the and the kind words, and yeah, we are in a very, very big space. And you know, in a nutshell, what we want to do a gather up is really make customer experience the backbone of your business. We offer a lot of features does that play into the benefits of knowing what your customers think, letting them talk to you easy roads, to be able to provide that feedback, a number of different ways online reviews, is just one of them. And we want to make help a business understand what their customer thinks. So they can use that information to make themselves a better business. I tell me all the time, we're not magical. If your customer has a two star experience, just because you ask them with a pretty email or a nice text message. They're not going to write a five star review after you gave them two star service. But what we want to help you figure out is like, wow, what happened when that person had a two star experience? And can we correct it? Can we provide new training? Can we set better expectations, so we can more consistently deliver a five star experience to that customer that's there. So that's essentially what our product does is, we have a number of different ways for a customer to get into our system, both proactive and passive. Most want to use us to be proactive. So we always say we want to be the best two minute conversation after a transaction. So after you receive a service or or product or whatever, or have that encounter, we're going to reach out with a you know, just a small handful of questions, capture that customer experience data, and then try to move that customer on to writing a review at Google or recommendation at Facebook or review at TripAdvisor all, depending upon the industry and the type of business you have. Then our platform collects all that information as they're leaving it for you directly, we also monitor a ton of sites give you a lot of management capabilities, reply capabilities, reporting capabilities. And then the last piece is probably where I'd so many agencies like us and resell us is because we have a number of marketing tools, right, we help you stream those reviews up to your website to bring SEO content, social proof, you know, review schema to help populate stars in the search results. So the package of you know, all those things is we just want to set you know, a loop that you can work with lather, rinse, repeat by executing certain features, and then, you know, certain ways that that you handle it within the business. And as far as Yeah, in a very crowded space, I think the way we differentiate ourselves is because we're all agency guys, right? Like this tool was built out of what we saw in working with small businesses and our agencies. We weren't software people that said, Hey, where can we build something that will scale and sell well, and that we can get investors or whatever that might look like? You know, we looked at like something that we were working on every day? And how could we automate that and make it better? Make it easy for people to us? And that we kept in mind, right, where we have a white label version of our product. And we have hundreds of fabulous agencies that we work with that resell our product that allow them to do great things for their and customer.
Noah Learner: Cool, I love it. Do you want to jump into that loop? And kind of share with us how agencies who aren't doing it yet? How they can use use a tool like to both help their businesses grow ROI, but also have a new revenue stream for their agencies?
Aaron Weiche: Yes, I would love to that. So I let me know that you're seeing my slides just fine here. Yep. Yeah. Alright, cool. Well, this is kind of a high level. When I get in, I always like to point this out to people is kind of a level setter. And the easiest way to describe today's world is just call it the Amazon economy where pricing availability, deliver ability, like those are hard to compete on anymore, because you can buy just about anything online, have it shipped to your door, whether it's Amazon or not, right, like mattress companies 10 years ago, they thought they were probably invincible, because you needed to go lay on a bed to buy one and everything else. And now all of the big competitors there are all online. But no matter what you're selling product service, whatever else, the two biggest things left to like build a moat around our are your brand and are your reputation. So we understand that that's why we want to build it a toolset that help people build brand, defend their brand, and you know, get new business because of their brand. So I kind of put together some slides of walk you guys through how we look at some of the things that can be automated and our platform and working to kind of complete this loop that people go through it. And we'll start way over on the on the on the far left with adding customers into the system. I always described this as our, our, our software as an engine. And the gasoline it really needs to run at top speed is customer information. And that's just getting you know, who is the customer first name, last name, email address or mobile phone number into our system. And the biggest thing we we seek to do most of the time is you know, get an automation through either using our API or you know, doing an integration using another piece of software is API. But we want to tag on to a business process, it's already taking place, right maybe it's an appointment marked close something in your in your CRM says you know, shift them to billing, the job was completed, whatever that might be. So a lot of people will use our API and you know, there's the URL that it's at. And in our user guide, you can private just google gather up API, and you'll come across our page, and you'll be able to see, you know, it's fully fully public. And they can see that, okay, if if I have development capabilities, or I have a team, we can ingest their API to be able to then you know, pull out who is the customer? What is the trigger that we're using to then make that action happen, and pump that customers information into gather up so that we can then do the reach out and be able to request the customer experience data from the customer? As I mentioned, besides our API, when we have customers come to us, and they don't have those kind of resources, then we're finding out like, All right, great, what is your point of sales or your end or your CRM, or, you know, whatever they're using in their tech stack that that basically has the customer information, and has something we can use it as a trigger. So this could even be like loyalty software, as well in in certain industries. So then we'll actually just do a, you know, do a quote for them and say, yeah, hey, it'll take us, you know, this handful of hours to be able to say, every time this specific event happens in this piece of software, that they just need to send us first name, last name and email address and or mobile number, and then we'll do the rest of the work from there. So we have a handful of integrations into CRM and POS is is, you know, you guys probably know, and hopefully your audience, I mean, once you understand the language of of API's, it really just comes down to these platforms one, do they have one publicly and is using it in what you're doing? Those are dream situations, because then they're usually, you know, a well documented public API. And so our team can just say, Great, here's what we need to grab, are you using these fields to mark like an appointment complete, or whatever that might be? And then we're often running some though, right? That their API might be something that they charge for that they have a limitation and calls. And then we'll help that customer kind of back and forth with that to navigate those waters and be like, right to automate this, here's what it might take. So yeah, API's both ways, either us consuming or another piece of software consuming, we can we can help it happen.
Noah Learner: I think the just for people who might not know that the best part about working with your API is that there's zero friction for the client. Like if it's a small or medium sized business, if you can get them set up with an API, they won't have to do anything.
Aaron Weiche: Yep. Yeah, absolutely. And we really like, what we think more than anything that like, we think of this kind of like, first in our business, as opposed to like, last minute. Data is the true commodity, right. And so sharing it and porting it from one piece of software to another, that shouldn't be the challenge in today's day and age, sadly, you know, it still is and, and I get there has to be some limitations, to you know, number of calls, volume, things like that. But really, at the end of the day, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to utilize what we have available with it. And we have we have some more plans in the works to we've already done a few different integrations where we're listening to like web hooks. But we want to build that into our platform as well, hopefully in 2020, where we'll have web hooks available that you can go and grab and use those on the other side.
Noah Learner: Cool. That's super cool.
Aaron Weiche: Yeah. So if you're not technically minded, you know, obviously a great I call this a you know, a gift of automation is Zapier right now, no easier to create automation between two different software platforms and to use Zapier that at a very low cost. And this is hugely beneficial for agencies because with one Zapier account, you can just go to town creating zaps, spread that, you know, the cost of Zapier, which is you know, still not a very big cost, right. If you hired a developer to do an integration, you might pay thousands or need to have one on staff. But you know, for under 100, or just over $100 a month, you can run so many zaps, through Zapier. So, you know, if not familiar, Zapier lets you connect to different apps to different pieces of software, as long as they've created an app out in the Zapier marketplace, and Zapier has a well over 1000, right, so we see some really common things and and when you go to build it, it's really kind of centered off of you know, two things in their world a trigger and then an action. So the trigger might be if you add a customer's name into a Google spreadsheet, and then automatically then sends them to us to send the the action of requesting feedback, or an inner would like QuickBooks Online. So when that customer service has been complete, and you go to like, you know, hit them for an invoice, it will also send us the information so then we can reach out and request a review. So there's just really a number of different things within your process. And just looking at like, okay, here's the software that we're already using in our tech stack, that could be a CRM a POS, you know, could be a payment system like square, right, it could be a food truck, and you swipe your card, and then it automatically is going to send that customers information of first name, last name and email address to us to ask for feedback. So they get an email or a text message within minutes of completing their order with you to capture feedback from so you know, Zapier is just so powerful, so many different options and, and apps with it. I almost always tell people like start there. And most agencies are pretty fluent in Zapier nowadays, because internally, it can save them so much time with what they're doing.
Noah Learner: Absolutely, this is how I how I think started utilizing your tool.
Aaron Weiche: Awesome, good, good to hear it. And yeah, it's just a really easy way to get comfortable and get those initial automation going. Alright, so once we have that side, and and I do, it's so hard for me not to point out, like we have literally a dozen other ways into our platform, we're obviously focusing just on automation. today. It's killing the sales side of me not to talk about like, oh, here's inbound text messages, use outbound text messages, everything else, but I'll restrain myself. But once I, once I gets in, you know, we always looked for, and this was a, especially in the early stages of, you know, our space, requesting reviews was really the biggest thing to come onto the scene as an automation that can be helpful, because, you know, we were all doing this in agencies as more of one offs or, you know, uploading a spreadsheet into another piece of software, like a MailChimp, or constant contact or Campaign Monitor, and then, you know, sending out and asking for reviews that way. So we really wanted to take this and automated as well. So, you know, within our system, we basically have request modes, we have three different core modes that allow you to, it basically helps you designate what's most important, what type of customer experience data are you trying to get from that customer. And there's a number of steps in our platform, and a lot of them have settings. So like once you send that initial request saying like, hey, great, thanks for coming in. And and you know, buying from Bob's hardware store, tell us how your experience was, if the customer doesn't act with that, our systems automatically have the ability to send out a reminder. So if they don't take any action, or leave you any feedback, you can say great two days after that first one was sent, let's set another one, then you have the option to turn on a second reminder. And so now we can say all right, seven days after that second one, if they still didn't interact, let's try them again, and try to get them to interact and leave us feedback there. And then say they go through some of that processes, then we have, you know, ones, it's like, Great, thanks for telling that this stuff. But we notice you didn't head off to Google and leave a review, would you kindly write a, you know, a review on Google. For us, it's really important. So we look at our process. And as you can see here, from the screenshot, you know, a number of things that you can turn on and off set the timing intervals for but we really want, even if you put a customer in manually, we want to do the work to say like, all right, have they done anything? Nope, they haven't? Let's reach out and prompt them again, have they done anything? Nope, they haven't, let's reach out and prompt them again. As you can see, we don't allow you to have 100 of these because we don't want that customer to hate you. Because you're just paying with email over and over again. So we really want it to be a win win at the end of the day for both the business and the customer. So but yeah, within requesting those having those reminders, come in handy. So this is kind of what might that that might look like, right? So say the local burger joint after you're in they say you a text message that says, you know, hey, great, we'd love your, you know, feedback on coming in with us, please click this link, customer doesn't take any, you know, action on that. And two days later, we'll send an email reminder. That's one other thing, you know, you can use email for that first request, but we feel or SMS for that first request. But we feel that you know, text is a very much more, you know, closer and more personal communication. And if you you know, keep hitting someone with text messages, you're likely to do yourself more harm than then help. Because you know, almost 100%, right at SMS open rates are like 97%. So they saw your message, they just didn't want to leave you feedback at the time. So then we roll over if you've also added an email address. So the first reminder comes from, you know, an email instead. And then the second reminder would come from an email as well. So you're able to kind of mixed some communication past but again, that the system does it all for you.
Noah Learner: So this reminds me of cart abandonment tool that that we build called bike basket, and we have a we have a good sense of where we're getting our conversions. Yep. Where are you seeing conversions for feedback? In terms of the different methods of getting feedback? Are you seeing differences between SMS and email?
Aaron Weiche: So really great question. One, actually, no, right. And this is one of those. You know, when we were talking beforehand, you asked me to maybe mentioned some mistakes. We thought that because of how SMS is we thought that that would be a game changer, right? And really, what we see more related to anything is the medium you're communicating to your customer doesn't matter as much as Do they have a good brand experience? Do they? Do they like your brand, when they see anything from you, right? If they see you name in a subject line and email or on a text message, part of them say like, oh, cool, I like that brand or not, because they're not going to love you anymore, once you reach out based on anything else. And the second is, is just timing, are you contacting them as close as possible. So the ones that do this really well, they're sending this request, whether it's SMS or email, as close to that transaction as possible, right. And that's the beauty when you have automation, something else in your process is already telling you like this just happened, right? This order just came through our POS. And now we have it time. So with an hour this goes out, or this, you know, appointment was just marked completed. So now we're going to send this out that email is going to be waiting for them when they get on their their phone or the text message will be and they might not even be out of our parking lot. So we see more out of those recency than anything. And really, when you have all these reminders turned on, we end up seeing about equal interaction from each of the steps, right? So it's not like this funnel of like, well 80% respond to the SMS request. And then we get another five at the second and another five at the third. It's much closer to like equal at each step that's there. People are busy, they get a lot of incoming text messages, emails, especially. So sometimes just hitting them at the right time. Or they they subconsciously say to themselves, like oh, yeah, I'll do that. And then what do you do you forget you go do a million other things. And then the email comes in. And it is the true reminder that they wanted that like, Oh, yeah, I wasn't going to do that. Now it will go do that. So yeah, not, not a wide variety. But if you have, you know, timing more than more than anything else, that's, that's really going to be a big factor for you.
Noah Learner: So you would, I think in the platform, the is it immediate one hour, and then remind me how the choices work. It turned out.
Aaron Weiche: Yep, so you kind of have two different options. One is when you add that customer, you can set it to the to send immediately upon hitting within the platform. The second that we have is for those that load up a lot of customers we were we will drip it out over time. But that's more for people, if they load up a you know, say you download a list. This is where you going to people that you know maybe once a month, someone in marketing will go and pull down, hey, here's everybody we interacted with, they pull down 300 or 500 customers, what we want to then do is drip those out. So it's more emulating the natural flow of when they're coming in. So now you don't all sudden have all these reviews that are on the same date and time. So then we just kind of you know, open the damn a little bit of a time send 20 out in the day, then send 20 out the next day 20 the next day from there. So yeah, quite a few different settings in there based on do you want us to hold them at all? Do we want to drip them out? Do you want them to go out immediately, as they're added into the system that's there? And then yeah, then the reminders and a number of things can be anywhere from days to hours before based on what type of step it is in the process.
Noah Learner: Sounds like we want to be way less than a day though.
Aaron Weiche: Yeah, I mean, with that first one, you do want to be as close as possible to that customer. You know, to truly get into optimization, that the biggest thing you need to do is what we call see the process, like when that text message or email shows up, it shouldn't be a surprise to the customer. You should have already in your in your interaction said, Hey, just so you know, we care a lot about feedback. And when we're done today, you're going to get a quick little survey. And it's literally five questions or less, please take the two minutes to answer that it's really important to us, right? And so that one sentence and 30 seconds, that's going to help boost your interaction along with it getting quicker like oh, yeah, they just mentioned this to me. And literally within a half an hour, I have this an hour within eating my pizza. I have a request for feedback on it so tight, tightly tied together and balled up. But yeah, the closer to that aha, or the wow moment, the better off you're going to be no more accurate feedback, you're going to get to right when you ask somebody A month later, they're like, was I even there? And what did happen? Right? Like, you're not going to get the most accurate opinion from your customers?
Noah Learner: Sure.
Aaron Weiche: Good questions.
The next thing that we get into is once you're requesting it, we built a feature into our platform last year called auto tagging. And I guess another thing here to think about that took us a while to really get our minds around. Early on, we're so focused on helping get feedback in content information. And for businesses. We didn't think as much about like, once you get all of that once that fire hoses on then what do you help them do with it. And this was kind of where this feature was born is because we started getting some larger customers that were like, Hey, this is great. You guys are getting us, right? We're getting like 20 to 25% response rates, the old junky survey we were doing and the way we sent it, we're getting like 2% response rate. But now we have all of this data, like help us understand it better. So we built auto tagging, in essence is to really turn like unstructured keywords into like focus tags and beads, right. So instead of having thousands of ways that someone is talking about your business and your service and your staff, how do you boil that down into maybe 510, or a dozen, like key topics that you really care about. And then there's also a marketing play to this, that we'll get into as well. But the end of the day, we look at this like Alright, so let's build a list of 20 different keywords that if any of these keywords are mentioned, it applies to just this one tag, right. So like in the example of a piece of content out of our system here, here's a Google review for a taco shop demo account I use. And so if the customers mentioning, you know, anything like love, we have a tag that fires customer love, and this could be them talking about, you're great, you're awesome, we love you. I'm a fan, all kinds of different terms like that. So it can be something that is sentiment based like that. And then it can also be factual to where you know, people mentioned at all Something about like the shrimp tacos will tag it with shrimp tacos, because maybe we want to, you know, have a dedicated page on our website about our famous shrimp taco. And we want to include reviews that only mentioned trip tacos on it. Or we want to understand how feet people feel about our service. So they talked about, you know, the services ridiculously fast, we want to know that when people are talking about service, we're earning great reviews with it. Or when people have a one star experience, it's because they're talking about service. And that's what's holding us back from delivering a great experience. So these tags that we apply the system auto applies are really helpful because it can take somebody who's getting in dozens, hundreds or even thousands of pieces of feedback between first party and third party reviews, to turn it into some. So this is just a snapshot out of our interface where you build what these look like. So for this one for the this taco restaurant, the tag is issue. And so if we see the terms below average, bland, burned, complaint, complaint, dry, gross issue soggy, it's going to tag it with the word issue. Because we understand that the way that customers talking and the words they're using, there's an issue with what went on with their experience. And you're able to add keywords, you can create new tags at any point in time. But again, the whole focus is how do we group a whole lot of loose things and then group them together and get the power of understanding what are the themes of these reviews, more than anything else. And so this is just a snapshot of that, you know, the dashboard from this account. So you can see a few of these different ones coming in and what they might end up being tagged about right if they're talking about an issue, they might be talking about price. You see in this one star review here where they said the food was subpar. You know, bad quality and taste 20 minute wait time, inaccurate orders and they're not going to be spending their money there again. And then you have you know someone else on the flip side saying the best tacos in Minnesota love what they're doing and try their their hot sauces as well. So these are all things you you know, you want to be able to understand and break down by themes how people feel instead of each individual reveal any questions and you guys in looking at this know, I know you're you know, somewhat familiar with the solution. But we actually get it is a great way to start building categories of reviews that you can operationally learn from. And then as we go a little bit further, in this will show you how to turn this into marketing power for you as well.
Noah Learner: Ya know, we use tagging for like bike repairs, or bike rentals. And we segment out Yeah, service pages because we want to see reviews stars that are that are tagged associated with different service offerings.
Aaron Weiche: So that's a Yeah, that's a great example, right? a, an auto dealership might tag service used car sales, new car sales, right. So you can do some segmentation of departments. We have some people use it for staff, where they're going to when they upload the customer, they're going to add a tag that says, Well, you know, Sarah was their sales rep, or john was their sales rep. So then they can break down and do reporting later by like Howard john or Sarah's customers talking about. So it's not just the content that's in there, you can also use it from other areas as well. But here, you know, where the system is automatically combing through, once you build that list once now we'll apply it to every review that's in there. So you create one five years from now and you have 200,000 pieces of feedback, you can select and say run it through the entire history. So we can go back in time. And they'll pull out anytime that customers talking and using those keywords. So really, really powerful. And we Yeah,
Noah Learner: so I've always gotten the sense that he words in reviews are really powerful. How do we have multiple feedback requests so that we can use the keywords for different service offerings in the request?
Aaron Weiche: Yeah, so in our system, right now, you'd have to set it up as like a separate profile, we realized, like, that's how you get the benefit to be able to have completely different language and different questions for that customer, as a as a profile. So it might be you know, if it was, you know, city, Ford, new car sales city, for us car sales, you'd have two profiles, within our platform, we are conceptually working on some much larger plans, I can definitely say it'd be a 2020 year thing, where you might be able to do some of that segmentation a little easier inside of one location. We've it's, you know, that not not a small feat. But we're definitely looking at that. But and you can do some of that to like in addition to tags, we also have like a customer ID, we have a customer ID. So we have three or four different fields that you can kind of use as meta data type fields with these when you add customers, or apply to them afterwards that allow you to kind of you know, move that data around or export it and then shift it and do some different reporting and pivot tables and excel and things like that, that. So usually I tell people, if you have a situation like that, like come and talk to us, and we'll walk you through, hey, here's things that are available. Here's ways that we've seen people achieve this, but let's hear about what your end goal is. And then we can best prescribe a way to work through that with you. So once we bring all that content in our system is automatically everything separated by location. And that's just because obviously review profiles are on a per location, you have a GMB profile for where that physical location, the businesses a Yelp profile, TripAdvisor profile, BBB profile. So at a very minimum, our system is already kind of segmented per location. So once all these reviews come in, we then have a feature of our review widget that allows you to stream those reviews back up to your website. And there's a few different things that go on with this that are all up to your settings. One is what type of content are you going to display. And here's something I probably should have, you know, mentioned earlier, people aren't aware. But there's basically two types of reviews. You know, the one most commonly associated with the word review is what's called a third party review. This is that a site like Google TripAdvisor Better Business Bureau, this is that a site that's at a distance from you that you don't control. But in addition, that, you know, most marketers are now well aware of as first party reviews, right, this is a review directly to the business could be just called customer feedback, it could be testimonials. But when you have it structured the same way with a star rating. And in a review format, you can use those reviews and a number of fabulous ways within marketing. And one of those most common ways is to stream those reviews up to you know, a location page or a page on your website. If you're want one location, streaming these up to like your about page or creating a dedicated reviews page is extremely helpful that way a customer can easily come in and see these reviews that you have. You can also say like bringing my third party reviews as well. So any of the sites were monitoring, Google, Facebook for recommendations now instead of reviews, Better Business Bureau auto.com, whatever it might be, you can also display those same reviews, again, bringing them all in one spot. So you get your first party reviews, and your third party reviews on there. A number of options where you can say automatically, you know, feed the ones up that are are, you know, three stars and above feed all of them up a number of things that you can do to automate that process. So when they come in, you're then moving them all the way over into the marketing phase and displaying them on your site.
Just to give some examples, we kind of have like multiple different layouts that you can plug in. So this is, you know, first one is what's just called our vertical. So you can control how many are in a page could be 510 15. And then we'll pageant eight through the rest. And we also have a horizontal where a card format, so it's just going to display three within a card format. And then what we have is called a full page, this is going to give you the rating, what they consist of what rating types and then show you you know, the individual reviews themselves a ton of stuff to go on here that you know, doesn't fit into automation, but your replies can be here from your first party reviews. And, you know, in in a couple of steps to we'll skip ahead. And then we'll talk about review schema because we markup the first party reviews so that you can then get stars in the search results, which is extremely important to your marketing as well. But for now without you know, pulling the punch on on what that does. You know, the biggest thing is like, let's get this content from inside our system and all the ways we've captured it. And let's push it out to where everyone can access it. And Noah just kind of as you were alluding to, especially for multi location businesses like this content is a huge win, right? Because you get keyword rich, you know, content about those locations, and especially for multi locations. those pages usually really struggle for content, right? It's the same old we have, here's our hours, here's our phone number, here's our map, and then they're like, what else do we put here, they never update it. But when you're streaming these reviews up per location, now you're getting dozens, hundreds thousands of reviews from each of those locations up there that are you know, super keyword rich and add so much content to the page. So I gave him for these Growler guys are like a 12 location craft Growler fill. That's that's on the west coast. You know, just in this one review alone, we have keywords like IPAs, new beers Growler fill growlers, right, and this is why of dozens that that are on their site. So really a ton of SEO benefits. This is one that I was to say, if you're a multi location, and you're not doing something like this, like you are massively missing the boat, especially when you consider our world of being proximity driven. The location pages for your multi location have the best chance to rank for someone doing near me searches located by right and to appear in those organic results in addition to having, you know, a good strong foundation to help your map pack visibility and ranking. So just so so important. This is one of those, you know, if you're a multi location, and you're not streaming first party reviews, and third party reviews up to your location pages, like you're missing such a low hanging fruit to, you know, drive authority and visibility that you're really got to get going on that. So.
Noah Learner: Got it? I've tended to put them on, like a free standing reviews or testimonials page.
Aaron Weiche: Yep. And if you're one you like, yeah. Okay. Well, if you're a one location page, totally create a page like that. I wouldn't say In addition, you know, link to it from on your homepage, use an internal link, like give it some internal credibility and say, like, hey, if you want to read our reviews, here they are. But I usually find you know, your About Us page, depending upon how long is your site's been around or whatever else it priority has some credibility and authority. So that might be a great page to put it on as well. So between those two of your one location, but the minute you have multiple locations, like you should be putting these on each of those locations, whether you're just five or 500 locations, like that's the best place for this content, where you'll get the most bang for your buck and the most help in the search results.
Noah Learner: So I hate to get granular here, but for those don't know, one of the things that you guys put out is like multiple widgets. So you have like, the full one. And then you have like the bads, the review badge. Historically, I've put the review badge on the location page, going to the testimonials page, because I felt like that was the key. That was the one two punch that would push the review stars into search results. Yep. So are you recommending full reviews on location page? Are you saying review badge pushing to a freestanding page?
Aaron Weiche: Yeah. So again, if you're one location, I don't, you know, you can? Absolutely, you know, do it that way, you have to look at like, what page has the most amount of visibility? Where would the customer expect something and and and what can we do in those areas. So for one location, how you described, you can totally do that right, you could put them on the location page, you can put them on a review page with a badge that then links back to it. But the badge still has aggregate schema as well to provide the stars for the location pages as well, you can put that badge on the homepage. So you can kind of use that universally in Italy back to here's where we display all the reviews, right? Because that's part of Google's Terms of Service with review schemas that you need to link back to where they're all displaying with it. So you can get you can definitely do that. But again, once you get into multi locations you want to have you want to show the reviews for each of those pages.
Noah Learner: Got it. Okay.
Aaron Weiche: So the next piece is, you know, now when we think back to when we auto tagged, now, not only the operational insight, but now you can feed those reviews specifically for that tag to a widget. So we really look at is like how do you feed, you know, specific, you know, service product, geo, whatever that that might be, and have them display on that page. So if you're, you know, a lawn maintenance business, and in my neck of the woods, you're mowing lawns, you know, maybe hopefully five months of the year, but six, seven months of the year, you're plowing snow, right? That's the most common thing. So one page is your lawn service. And so there you want all your customers talking about, you know, how they how well you cut their lawn, and you blow the driveway off afterwards and take good care of it, the lawns, green everything else. And then you have a snow plowing page talking about like, you know, hey, you know, within an hour of snowfall being done, my driveway is cleared. It's never icy any of those types of things. So now you can split different services off. You can even split up by staff members. So here's this kind of an example for, you know, a jeweler right Mike Blumenthal's pet client, Barbara Oliver. So this page is streaming, anything that talks about wedding rings, engagement ring anything else, because the system's auto tagging it, then it's auto approving it and sending it up to this page. So she has dozens of reviews that are only about engagement rings being brought to this page. So this is just a really, really easy and fabulous way to be able to say, Here's on our website, we've created these services pages, or a staff page or whatever else. And now we want reviews just talking about that subject matter to appear there. So as I mentioned a staff one, right, so you get doctors. So now you might want to take anytime they're talking about Dr. Home, right. So you have all these, you know, Dr. Home, Dr. Home, Dr. Home, and they're on her bio page. So now if somebody is coming in, and there's three or four doctors at a specific place and be like, all right, as they read their about us now I can also read what the customers have to say about them. So now I understand is this someone who fits who I want to see? Or who am I going to request to make my appointment. So this is a very powerful way to use that tag widget to separate where there might be 510 15 different small pieces, but service type of product type, a geo location, right some people if you're in the local, you're creating services pages because your businesses in one town but you might Milan's and five other towns and you create landing pages for each of those towns. Now anytime someone mentions that town sweet, now we're sending that review automatically to that town landing page.
Noah Learner: Cool.
Aaron Weiche: Yeah, really, really, really cool feature. And just one one of the things that I'm a little See, I'll give you a sneak peek of something else where we're continuing to try to build on these tags and being able to customize review content. So the last piece both a tag widget and review widget have this and that's using review schema so that you can get the review stars Rich Snippets in the search results, right. So here's, you know, that same craft beer company that we're talking about. So when you look for craft beer in Richland, Washington, you know, in the organic results, you definitely get different brew houses, but there's only one that has the review stars there. And time and time again, right. Even Google said, Hey, if you have anything related to rich snippets, you're going to see a bump in click through rate. And related to reviews. They say at a minimum 20%. But we've seen studies by other experts in the industry that suggests as high as a 200%, click through rate increase when you have those reviews, stars. And especially if you're you know, in an area like this, right where it's like none of these other breweries have it, and these guys do, you're going to get those massive results. And another is you might just need to be doing it. Because once you do that type of search, you're like, oh, holy cow, a couple of my competitors have their reputation already greeting that customer right there in the search and looking very trustworthy, we need to get some here, we're going to be in trouble with it. So this is really one of that, that those big benefits. And this really helps your visibility and click through rates in those search results by being able to achieve that. Another example here, so that engagement page that I just showed you, for Barbara Oliver, right, in a very, you know, engagement rings in Buffalo, New York, a mid size, mid market city, you know, she has a number of things working against her from how far outside of the city is and everything else to appear in the map pack. But she's the number two organic result. And she's the only result with the review starts right so she gets a really healthy click through rate from her organic listings here, brought to that page that again, has everything you expect a video from her photos of engagement rings, and then you can just read endless stories, I'm amazed at, you know, this lady is a customer service Dynamo, where some people it's hard to get, you know, 10 words in a review, she literally has paragraphs right and it's in it's an emotional, it's a very big purchase. But you know, just content that power is what what she's doing and helping her gain visibility in the search results. And it's super high level. Anything you want to talk more in depth about here? No, I mean, this is this is kind of one of those. This is a this is a tactic that most marketers, sometimes that's what this is exactly why they're coming for us. It's like how do we get these reviews stars for search results?
Noah Learner: Well, this is this is the technique. This is why I signed up with you guys. And is when I signed up, the widgets weren't pushing review stars for my platform. And it was really cool to work with you to improve that part of your functionality. And once we got that nailed, it's like, hundred percent success rate now and again, the stars results.
Aaron Weiche: And as you saw, like schema is a tricky business, right? It's like, it's not something like Oh, hey, cool, you know, we're good on it, like, Google is introducing so many schema formats. And then you have so many sites that are doing a lot, they have location schema number of other things. Now you get schema fighting with each other. So it's a constant. And we actually work with a couple of consultants now on a very regular basis to continue to look at what we're doing. How do we reconfigure these things? How are things not interfering, constantly looking at what's going on in the space? Google runs our own tests, and when they do an update, sometimes it can just drop the stars for no reason. And we usually tell people like, wait a week, and then let's talk about it again, just for them to understand like, let you know, we're not we're not going to be able to shake any trees at Google to get them to be like, Oh, don't worry, we'll put those stars back for you. You just gotta wait out whatever the the algorithm change was, or a bog or or anything else?
Noah Learner: Yeah, no, I think it's, you know, it's definitely one of my favorite parts of your services, getting the review stars. And I think that that is for an agency, that's the the best selling point. Or the easiest way to close somebody is to say, look, we we put the widget on the site, we asked for feedback, once we got six reviews, we were able to push it out. And when we submitted the site through Google Search Console, within a, you know, I've had it happen within five minutes of submitting through search console. It's not always that's that's the case. But um, I've had it happen. And when it does, it's like, holy crap. That's powerful. Yeah. I don't know how it impacts rankings. I mean, do you have any numbers about that?
Aaron Weiche: Well, I would, I would say it's more of a correlation instead of causation. I mean, it's going to impact click through, right. And so when you get your result being clicked on more and more like that, as a, you know, part of all the different things that go into it that can help bring you up. And then you also look at the fact when it's bringing more content to the page, more keywords to the page, all those related type things. It definitely has an impact that, you know, directly as you know, if you see the stars, is that a ranking factor? No. But because the stars are there, because you've added content, because it's getting clicked on. Those are all you know, things that are going to contribute to gaining a better ranking because of the visibility.
Noah Learner: And it also correlates to their concept of trust. And, and high trust page, right? Yeah,
Aaron Weiche: yeah, absolutely. I mean, they want to see it's a reason why they have reviews schema, right is because they understand that a user wants to see this. They want to feel good about where they're clicking into. Because, you know, even though Google completely owns and we talk about antitrust with more things around Google than anything else, but Google wants every researcher to use them for every type of search. So the more they can be reputable results and make feed people feel comforted about what they're clicking into and understanding that business, right in the search result that they feel like that's a win for the consumer.
Noah Learner: Jordan, what are your thoughts? This is if you hadn't using the tool, and so far,
Jordan Choo: yeah, it's, it's been great. We use it for all of our local clients. And we're actually in the midst of incorporating it into a few booking systems. And I love love the easy API access. So I've, it's been fantastic. I love to hear that love here and Megan things automated.
Aaron Weiche: So the the small bonus I have for you guys to end things today is give you a little sneak peek, we have a new report coming out that piggybacks off a lot of what we talked about here. That's using natural language processing and using NLP to be able to understand sentiment and a number of other things. So you know, what we want to be able to, you know, understand is because we can even understand inside of a five star review, people might say, hey, this was great. This was great. This was great. But your bathroom was really good. And so we want to help you pick out what are the four things being talked about that were great in this one review. And what's the one thing that that wasn't great. So we just started in an alpha with this, and later this month, we'll have a public beta available, we always let our customers enter a beta, if they'd like to. We're tied in we're using IBM Watson to to analyze this stuff. And what we really want to help you do is understand what is the impact of, of what's going on with reviews and ranking. So if we consider the same taco shop, we kind of have a number of things in the first chart that goes into this report. And you can run it for both keywords and tags. So you can see how the themes play out, but also the tags. But just to explain everything going on here is you know, our x axis at the bottom is the number of reviews. So how many times is this term being used in a in the appearing in individual review? What's the average rating when that term is used on the y axis on the left side, the bigger the shape means more mentioned. So you know, the review, one review might mention the word taco eight times or the word Margarita nine times. So we want you to understand the density of what those are. The green and the red help signal sentiment is being used in a positive or negative sentiment. And then that blue line across there, that's what your average rating is. So what this is showing you is like what are the things that are appearing above your average line? These are the ones impacting your business that are raising your review average when they happen that frequently? And what are the ones that are you know, on average, or what are the ones pulling your average down with it. So really cool to be able to see something and understand like for this taco shop that like, hey, when people talk about Margarita is it's a full half star higher than our normal average. And it's appearing in 42 different reviews with it.
Jordan Choo: And then as I was just gonna say that's quite interesting, because then you can use that data, and then incorporate it on your local landing page and say, Hey, this spot has amazing Margarita is or will we're really well known for tacos here.
Aaron Weiche: Yep, yep, absolutely. Those are important important things to figure out. So by jump this is I'm just jumping into that exact one, that that we're talking about now. So it's visual impact report really helpful. But then down below now we're going to tell you the sentiment, right? And so it's like, all right, people are talking positive about tacos hundred and 33 mentions and said three and a half star average when they mentioned it. The Margarita is one that we talked about, where we see when people you know are upset, right? When they're taught when staff gets mentioned, usually in a negative review, right? Somebody rude didn't take their order fast enough, whatever, whatever that that might be VC timings important when they mentioned minutes, it's not to say, Oh, I got my taco and minutes. It's to say like it took 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, that's way too long with it. And then the other thing we want to help you understand is trends. And just since this was literally just launched in the last two days, this will be ended up telling you the separation, what's changing over time. So now do you have terms that are happening more frequently in the last month, or in the last week or the last 90 days? And then if you're a multi location, like where's this happening at so now you know, is one a leader where it's all this changes happening at one location? Or you can say Nope, I looked at it all these locations are pretty the same with with what's happening with it. So really cool, really powerful. I said both keywords, you can do tags as well those end up in in a different shape. You can look at all of them together at the same time. You can look at 20 or even get further in so yeah, a lot a lot of really cool stuff. Sorry, guys.
Noah Learner: That's Google. Total Lego us am I okay, sweet.
Aaron Weiche: Oh, good. What's a what's a video call without it? Cutting out other noise is a kid running in the background? You know, you gotta have something, it wouldn't be complete.
Noah Learner: They, they're, they're messing up the ingestion or one of my pay-per-click feeds. Ouch. Yeah.
Aaron Weiche: Well, cool. Well, that's I mean, that's the the lifecycle of what I wanted to be able to, you know, talk through with you guys and share with your audience. But, you know, we really look at this as you take a couple hours and have it set up. And then it can be as no touch as you want it. Now, there's obviously a ton of great thing where you need to respond to reviews and whatever else. But you can see this is a pretty tight cycle of requesting, capturing, understanding, and then using it for marketing firepower and influencing Google's Google search results, all in a no touch situation once you have it set up. So some pretty cool automation.
Noah Learner: I love it. And the way that I use Zapier is I have a week email that goes out to all my clients to remind them to export their customer list and put it into a Google Sheet. No, it sounds like I want to do that more frequently than then I'm doing it.
Aaron Weiche: Yeah. and that type of thing can is is going to be a benefit. But now that's another another another great automation that you can do for reminders, right.
Noah Learner: Yeah. And then, and then they upload and then the zap pushes the data up into your system and then dripped out perfect, which is really cool. Well, this has been amazing. I love your product. And I think all the people who watch watch these hangouts know that that these are not paid endorsements or anything like that. We just whatever service we feature, we think that it drives a lot of ROI for our clients. And and we think that people who aren't using it should be and that's why that's why we were doing this today. Aaron, this has been amazing. I'm really psyched to see you at Ma's con. Can I stop by the booth?
Aaron Weiche: Oh, yeah, you can stop by the booth. We got to get your swag up with some gear and everything else. And yeah, we just need to catch up. So in person not not over a zoom call. Can't wait to see.
Noah Learner: I'm really excited to see you soon. Forever. What else? We really appreciate your time. We've got another one of these next week. Jordan, do you remember?
Jordan Choo: I do not.
Aaron Weiche: It's not It's not me?
Noah Learner: No, no, no. But we've got another one of these next Friday. And this has been a really fantastic hour and by then I'll be healthy again. Which will be amazing. This has been a week of hacking like crazy. Aaron, you rock Jordan as always, you're the man. And everybody have a great week. And anyone that's at Ma's con. Please try and Jordan and I down. My Twitter handle is at Noah Learner. And o h le AR n er I'd love to meet you in person and Jordan remind us where yours is.
Jordan Choo: It's at Jordan to this jail. Ah n ch Oh,
Noah Learner: cool. Everybody keep automating. We love you. Ciao.
Jordan Choo: Take care, everyone.
We built this Add-on to help you manage GMB Questions and Answers in an easy familiar way with the aid of Google Sheets.
Share and learn about automating your digital marketing agency.